What’s on your Christmas list this year? For me, what I really want to unwrap are a few gifts from Google.
My 2013 wish list includes a few new AdWords features and new functionality. So Santa Google, here's my list – please check it twice – this year I've been mostly nice.
1. Actual Numbers!
Recently, I wanted to compare AdWords data from this November to traffic from last November. I turned on the comparison feature, chose my option and dates, and hit go. Nothing. Nothing happened. I couldn’t figure out what was going on!
After talking with the the #PPCCHAT folks on Twitter, I realized that the functionality just wasn’t there…yet. You can only see this data in the graphs delivered in the AdWords platform.
Coincidentally, I don’t have graphics display in my campaigns, because they don’t tell the whole story. I need numbers, conversion rates, etc.
When I want to see trends or spikes, I look at the graphics, but only occasionally. The data listed in a graphic is only about one-tenth as useful as the actual numbers.
This seems like something petty, but graphics are just pictures. I want to know how many visitors, and how much lower the bounce rate was. Without the comparative numbers, I had to dump each year's data into Excel and do the work by hand. It seems that if the graphic can deliver the data, why can't the table?
2. More Information and Control Over Product Listing Ads
We need a better connection/feed from the Google Merchant Center. While you can connect the merchant center to your PLAs, the data is delivered in a pretty elementary fashion.
Many things I read say you should tag your products in the merchant center with special IDs that will help Google AdWords show more data. Great – are we back to adding ?source=blahblah to Google's own products to see data?
We can see the actual queries associated with our text and content ads, why not our product listing ads? Google tells us that PLAs are not triggered by keywords, but that's not entirely true. If I do a query that has products attached to it within the Merchant Center – the ads are shown. Why can I not see those queries within the AdWords dashboard?
3. A Tool to Tag Dates and Times
Annotations within Google Analytics are a wonderful feature. A tool to allow us to tag dates and times with changes, ideas, tweaks and more within the AdWords platform would make tracking the changes we made and the results of those changes very simple. The ability to attach a change to an AdGroup would be even more useful.
4. A Clickable Dashboard Module
I enjoy the dashboard Google AdWords gives us as a way to see a snapshot of data. What I don’t enjoy is not being able to click from a dashboard module to the actual full report. This is another feature that is readily available in Google Analytics that needs to be migrated into Google AdWords.
5. Real-Time Reporting
Since we're talking wish list – let's get real. As in real time. Real-time AdWords reporting would rock!
Understandably, there are some challenges as Google AdWords tries hard to combat click fraud, but it's still a reasonable request. Add a disclaimer to the real-time display that indicates data might change due to click quality decisions. Generally, I bet we're talking less than 1 percent of an effect on the overall numbers.
For those who manage huge budgets and a day-to-day, hour-to-hour change means profit or none, real-time AdWords reporting would be a great feature.
6. Seamless Integration
It seems, from observation that the teams within Google don’t work as closely as we would think they do. Merchant Connected to AdWords seems like a Band-Aid someone added when they rolled out the PLA feature and someone said, "What the heck?"
Analytics and AdWords should have a very tight and seamless integration – as in, the same team. It's pretty apparent that they don’t work that way, though. Why? Why not make your tools really useful, develop for both platforms, and make your suite of products more user friendly?
Your Google AdWords Wish List?
I'm sure I'm not the first person to ask for new features, I'm sure I won't be the last. If anyone else has ideas for features they'd like to see added to AdWords, please share them in the comments below.
Also, if something on my list is already done, can you please point me in the right direction, because I sure as heck couldn’t find it! Maybe we need to add "Improve your help engine information and usability" to this list.